Beauty Detail

Gemma Chan On “Serum-Stacking” Her Skin Care & Filming The Actor

Plus, all about her involvement with L’Oréal Paris’ Anti-Street Harassment Week initiative.

Gemma Chan tells Bustle about her involvement with L’Oréal Paris’ Anti-Street Harassment Week initia...
Beauty Detail
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In Bustle’s Beauty Detail, we dive into the beauty bags of our favorite talents for intel on the rituals that keep them glowing and the MVPs (most valuable products) they can't live without. Here, Gemma Chan tells Bustle all about her involvement with L’Oréal Paris’ Anti-Street Harassment Week initiative, upcoming projects, skin care obsessions, and more.

Gemma Chan has one thing in common with every single character she’s played on the silver screen.

Similar to her role as gentle, yet superhero-level strong Sersi in Marvel’s Eternals, or even the regal and wise Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians — her true power is found in kindness and grace. And after sharing a conversation via Zoom with the London-born actor and advocate, I quickly realized that the poise and elegance she possesses in film naturally radiates from every word and sentence she speaks in real life, too.

Chan’s values are especially apparent when learning about her advocacy: “L’Oréal Paris launched the Stand Up Against Street Harassment initiative back in 2020, and so far, over one and a half million people have been trained in [their] methodology. It’s really such a valuable training because it empowers bystanders to safely intervene when they witness street harassment.”

She continues on to share some surprising statistics: “76 percent of people have witnessed sexual harassment in public spaces, 80 percent of women have experiences sexual harassment in public spaces, [and] there is something called the bystander effect where the more people that witness something, the less likely it is that somebody will do anything or respond. It obviously takes courage to feel like you can do something, [and with the training], safety is paramount. I’ve taken the training myself, it only takes 10 minutes online.”

While the topic of harassment — sexual, racial, and otherwise — is quite heavy, Chan and I agree that beauty rituals are somewhat of a daily practice that’s akin to meditation, and can often act as a form of self-love amidst darkness. And when it comes to her characters in film, she turns to their hair and makeup to dive deeper into who they truly are day to day.

“You sort of don’t know who your character is until you [find their look]. For me, it’s the shoes, and then it’s also, ‘so, how did they wear their hair?’ Especially if it’s something period, it really helps to get into character and to envision what that person’s life is day to day.”

As for her next role? Chan says: “I recently finished on a movie called The Actor, which is set in 1950s Ohio. I’d already kind of played with that period in Don’t Worry Darling, but this was a lot more low-key [with a] kind of small town, midwest style. We found a really distinctive look for [my] character, Edna. I have a little wispy, slightly Audrey-esque fringe and a high ponytail. It’s quite a girlish, innocent kind of look.”

Below, she shares her current beauty must-haves.

Her Nighttime Serum

“At the moment, I have been loving using all my serums. A retinol serum at night, and then I use L'Oréal Paris’ Hyaluronic Acid Serum during the day.”

Her Under Eye Awakener

“There’s a really good eye serum that has caffeine in it and hyaluronic acid. That’s also great for puffiness after a flight, or even during a flight. I’ve put serums on my face like three times on a long haul.”

Her De-Puffing Secret

“I have eye masks you can keep in the freezer, I have a roller I keep in the fridge, and I also have the [globes] — mine have got a green liquid inside — but I love all of that. I’ve taken them in my hand luggage and I’ve gotten some really perplexed [looks]. They always make the sensor go off when you go through security, and I’m like, ‘they’re for my face!’”

Her SPF Hero

“L'Oréal Paris finally released one of the my favorite products in the UK. Their UV Fluid is the best sunscreen I’ve ever used. There’s no greasiness, it doesn’t leave a white cast — which if you have olive skin or Asian skin like I do, it’s really hard to find one that your skin feels nice in. It works really well under makeup, as well.”

Her Go-To Complexion Brightener

“I just started using the Revitalift Vitamin C Serum, which is brilliant. It’s 12% vitamin C, it also has vitamin D and salicylic acid, and it’s great for just lifting, brightening the complexion, and working on any dark spots and fine lines.”